Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lunging Panama at the new place

Yesterday I lunged Panama for the first time at his new home.

As I've mentioned before, the backyard at the residential property he's at isn't all that horse-proof, so I had to be really careful. There is, however, a large dirt area (the end of the dirt driveway where people have been turning their cars around a lot over the years) next to the corral.

First I walked the area to make sure I didn't see any nails or other metal scraps that could hurt Panama's feet. (I did find a nail the other day, and yesterday I found a short piece of thick metal wire, such as what's used in chain link fencing.) There were a few things cluttering up the area, one of them being a trailer that was parked along the side. I slipped a red newspaper sack over the end of the trailer, so that Panama would steer clear of it, and moved a couple of other things (a yellow wheelbarrow and a few other work tools) over to the sides as well. I also found a stack of orange traffic cones, and set one up on the other side to mark the far edge of our "arena."

When all this was done, I had a comparitively safe area in which to work Panama. Unfortunately, though, the circle wasn't very big, and the equipment nearby (particularly the trailer) worried me. I decided to play it safe and take it easy lunging Panama — particularly since it's been a week and a half since he's been worked.

I started out just walking Panama. First I led him around the circle to show him where the boundaries were, and then I lunged him at a walk. I made him do the circle for probably at least 5 minutes, until he stopped shying at the equipment and breaking into a trot without waiting for my command.

Once I felt he could handle a trot without freaking out, I clucked to him to speed up. It became evident that the poor boy needs more exercise than he can get in that little corral: He kept lowering his head and shaking it back and forth, like he does when he wants to kick up his heels and run. He didn't canter, though, thank goodness — I just don't think our little circle is big enough for him to canter safely.

The other side went much faster, since Panama had already figured out where the boundaries of his circle was. I lunged him at a walk and a trot on that side for a few minutes, and then took him over to graze in the grassy part of the backyard before putting him away.

I still don't have enough room to do what I want to do, but I feel better having been able to at least lunge Panama a little.

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